Archive for October 2003
My young cat, Django, somehow got himself onto the edge of the water-tank above the airing cupboard, yesterday, and might have fallen in, inextricably, and drowned, had we not coaxed him down. The worrying thing, of course, being the idea that he might have done it some time when there was no one around. Cue much faffing around with wood and hardboard and hammer and nails to close the gap he’d gone through. Cue also this poem, by the Australian poet Les Murray, The Edgeless:
“Floodwater from remote rains has spread out
of the riverine scrub, resuming its mirages.
Mostly shallow, mild water
it ties its hidden drowning strains
taut around odd trees, in that low forest
whose skinny shade turns the water taupe. Nests float
and the vaster flat shine is cobbled at wave-shadow points
with little brown melons, just starting to smell rank.
The local station manager , his eyes
still squinting from the greenest green on the place,
the computer screen, strolls out of his office
onto the verandah. Tiny native bees
who fly standing up, like angels, shimmer the garden.
His wife points out their dog Boxer,
pads slipping, tongue slipping out , nails
catching in unseen lurch mineshafts, gamely
teetering along the round top rail of the killing yard.
Where does talk come from? The two ask each other
over teacups. – From the same place as the world.
We have got the word and we don’t understand it.
It is like too much. – So we made up a word of our own
as much like nothing else as possible
and gave it to the machines. It made them grow –
And now we can’t see the limits of that word either.
Come down off there, Boxer! Who put you up there?”
Electroluminescent products, from elumin8. Via icon magazine.
“Electroluminescent lights are paper-thin, low-energy, and flexible and can be screen-printed onto large-scale surfaces. Emitting a pale blue glow, they have the potential to transform advertising billboards into flashing, eye-catching animations, to create low-level lighting in aircraft and car interiors…” Or how about this: “a reactive tablecloth that lights up beneath objects placed on it”. Or this:
(“Digital Dawn”, a window-blind designed by Rachel Wingfield – from loop.ph)
“The ovate, red-coloured central capsule exhibits in the lower half the striate podoconus, in the upper half four oil-globules, and at the left the kidney-shaped nucleus. Numerous “yellow cells” or xanthellae are scattered in the calymma, which contains brown pigment around the porochora. Numerous pseudopodia radiate from the supporting spines of the sagittal ring.”
A description of a species of Radiolaria, from Die Radiolarien, 1862, and Report on the Radiolaria collected by H.M.S. Challenger, 1887, by Ernst Haeckel. Satellites, radio transmitters, shuttlecocks….
As Haeckel wrote: “The skeleton of the Radiolaria is developed in such exceedingly manifold and various shapes, and exhibits at the same time such wonderful regularity and delicacy in its adjustments, that in both these respects the present group of Protista excels all other classes of the organic world. … it shows the potentiality of the highest complexity to which the process of skeleton formation can be brought by a single cell.” Via Kurt Stueber’s Online Library.
Also, epiphytes in Brazil (from Die epiphytische Vegetation Amerikas. (1888), by Andreas Franz Wilhelm Schimper):
German beetles (from Fauna Germanica (1908), by Edmund Reitter):
(figs. 1,2 and 3 are called inquisitor, sycophanta, and investigator, respectively)
morning glories (from Asagao sanjuu rokka sen – 36 ausgewählte Asagao (Winden)-Blüten, (1854)):
and other glorious Japanese flora (from Flora Japonica, Sectio Prima, (1870), by Philipp Franz von Siebold and Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini):
Again, all the above are taken from Kurt Stueber’s Online Library. I’m very grateful to Herr Stueber for all the work that must have gone into creating this very large site; the text scans are mainly in German, and there’s no way of searching it to find where the images are, but it’s very much worth your persistence.
Bhikku led me here.
This drawing, which belongs to the Tate Gallery, is the work of George Dance the Younger, (1741-1825), who was primarily an architect – the architect, in fact, of Newgate Prison – and also a teacher of Sir John Soane. It’s currently in an exhibition at Tate Liverpool.
What happened on March 18th 1809, I wonder?
It isn’t every day that the world acquires a new frog, especially not one “which resembles a flattened aubergine with a white snout”. Mind you, if it’s actually been around for 100 million years, you’d have thought somebody would have noticed it before. Via The Guardian.
The old pharmacist’s cabinets in the Pavilhao Chines in Lisbon are now the haunt of hussars, zouaves and grenadiers, janissaries and cossacks and samurai, a host of military figures ranked in front of old maps, cigar-boxes and fans, keeping company with smiling buddhas and soubrettes, a parade of personages from Pessoa to Pavarotti to Popeye, china dogs and cats; plumes, cockades and aigrettes; moors, nigger minstrels, and mandarins; the dramatis personae of the graphic novel of your most fantastic dreams, each tableau with, as it seemed, at least one figure mouthing, or thinking, the words “Of all the bars, in all the world…”